Our next group walk on 5th September is to Lyme Park near Whaley Bridge. Third time lucky I hope, as it has been cancelled twice already – once due to a coach breakdown and then by the Covid lockdown.
This walk is an almost circular route of around 13 miles from Whaley Bridge via Lyme Park, Pott Shrigley, the Gritstone Trail and Toddbrook reservoir. The route includes spectacular views across beautiful countryside. Lyme Park has been a very popular destination for the group in the past.
Our walk begins at the north end of Whaley Bridge at Bridgemont, close to the A6/A5004 roundabout. We climb westwards along footpaths above Ringstone Clough towards Stoneheads. We join Whaley Lane for a short stretch before heading south towards The Dipping Stone, the base of an Anglo-Saxon cross, or boundary marker.
Continuing west, the walk crosses Whaley Moor and Higher Moor into Cheshire. Greater Manchester becomes visible in the distance as we approach Lyme Park, where we shall have our main break of the day. This is a National Trust property with extensive grounds to explore. There is a café and also toilet facilities. The house dates from the latter part of the 16th century, but was later extensively modified and extended. There is also an impressive tower called ‘The Cage’ well north of the main building.
We leave Lyme Park heading south west through the beautiful Hase Bank Wood to West Park Gate. We then climb south eastwards towards Moorside Lane, which takes us south to the tiny village of Pott Shrigley. There are beautiful views to the west along this section of the walk.
The road takes us through Pott Shrigley to the pretty church, where we shall have a short break before turning east for the long climb towards Charles Head. You can see White Betty (a monument) on an adjacent hillside if you look back towards Bollington. We join the Gritstone Trail which takes us up to Brink Brow. The trail continues towards Sponds Hill, the highest point of our walk at just over 400m. Again, there are extensive views across the moorlands. Here, we hope to have another break to admire the fine panorama all around. If anyone is interested, a short excursion to ‘The Bowstones’ can be made during this break. These are Anglo Saxon stone shafts dating from the 10th Century or earlier.
The final part of the day’s walk takes us east for a gradual descent across the county border back into Derbyshire. We walk alongside Toddbrook Reservoir which was built in 1831 as a feeder for the Peak Forest Canal. This was big news in 2019 as the dam wall was in serious danger of collapsing due to storm damage, seriously endangering the surrounding area. From here it is but a short way to our finishing point in the centre of Whaley Bridge.
The coach will be meeting us near the public toilets for a 6:30pm departure. No need to book. Coach fare £10. See ‘Programme’ menu for the local coach pick-up points.